According to the latest statistics from Ofsted, the number of both nurseries and childminders on non-domestic property has fallen since March 2015. The number of nursery places available has also decreased with it. As well as a change to legislation in May, the fall in numbers is thought to be due to a lack of funding, which in turn makes running a nursery unprofitable. In light of the new 30 hour scheme, this trend may be cause for concern, but we believe there is a way for nursery managers to avoid the downward trend and even become efficient enough to welcome even more business in.

What the numbers say*
• The Early Years Register has 676 fewer providers of childcare on non-domestic premises.
• There are 1,514 fewer childminders on the Early Years Register.
• Overall there are 11,529 fewer places offered by early years providers – a fall of 1 per cent.
• Overall, there are 2,180 fewer registered early years providers.

Is profitability to blame?
Purnima Tanuku, National Day Nurseries Association’s chief executive, said “This downward trend needs to be reversed if we want to ensure a choice of accessible, high quality childcare to meet parents’ needs… The sector is doing well in terms of quality, but it is certainly not thriving from a business perspective, as the decline in numbers shows.”

As the report highlights that quality of care is not to blame for the downward trend, with 85 per cent of early years providers achieving good or outstanding at their most recent inspection, the focus has been on profitability of running a nursery. The fact remains that an increase in paperwork puts a massive burden on nursery managers and their staff, taking up precious time, and raising stress levels accordingly. The extra hours, and costs associated with absenteeism and high staff turnover, contribute to the question mark over the financial feasibility of running a business in this sector.

Can software be a solution?
Whilst funding is most certainly an issue, if nursery managers wait for changes in availability of funds to be able to turn a profit, many more will be going out of business, which is where we believe the use of software can be of practical help in the here and now.

sparkPRO is a premium nursery software product that can save nursery managers time and money. There are many benefits to using Nursery software, including the fact that it minimises the paperwork associated with providing EYFS learning, it reduces the stress associated with creating a learning programme, thereby reducing sick days, and it also helps to provide a supportive working environment, which in turn promotes staff retention.

These three factors alone could be enough to improve profitability and keep in business.

If you’d like to find out more about how spark early years learning software can help your nursery be more profitable, call us on 0203 390 2412.